Best pension fund

Find out which pension funds have performed the best in 2020 and over the last 5 years.

When choosing funds to invest your pension pot in, one of the things you’ll want to know is how they’ve performed in the past. It’s not an indication of future results, but it’s a good place to start. We’ve looked at the performance of some of the funds on Hargreaves Lansdown’s Wealth Shortlist and compiled the ten that have performed the best over the last five years.

Click on the fund name in the first column, and you’ll be scrolled down to find out a bit more about the objectives of the fund, its risk profile and the main companies you’ll be investing in.

List of the best pension funds

Fund name24/12/15 – 24/12/1624/12/16 – 24/12/1724/12/17 – 24/12/1824/12/18 – 24/12/1924/12/19 – 24/12/20CAGR
Baillie Gifford American (Class B)31.43%21.43%13.43%30.46%122.15%39.31%
Artemis US Smaller Companies (Class I)42.90%9.40%5.29%26.97%25.12%21.20%
JPM Emerging Markets (Class B)34.59%31.08%-11.53%29.66%23.94%20.19%
ASI Global Smaller Companies27.29%25.85%-4.80%20.16%31.21%19.18%
Rathbone Global Opportunities (Class S)18.81%20.04%-0.78%27.54%29.01%18.42%
Schroder Asian Alpha Plus (Class L)25.72%37.96%-8.99%17.09%25.54%18.33%
FSSA Greater China Growth (Class B)22.56%30.47%-7.91%27.55%22.55%18.14%
Legal & General US Index (Class C)36.04%9.74%0.10%27.54%14.03%16.80%
Baillie Gifford Managed (Class B)17.48%15.30%-2.57%22.54%32.14%16.40%
FSSA Asia Focus26.04%%26.44%-1.61%17.05%14.01%15.91%

How we found the best pension funds

The results we’ve compiled here are based on the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years. We’ve explained how this is worked out below but it’s not exactly exciting so we won’t be offended if you choose to skip it.

Remember that these are the performances of these funds in the past. We haven’t yet mastered our ability to see into the future so we can’t tell you what will happen going forward and past performance is no guarantee of future results.

These funds all have different levels of risk and will be suitable for different risk appetites. Make sure you stick to a risk level that you’re comfortable with and aren’t tempted to go with something higher because the returns look promising.

What is the compound annual growth rate?

Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a more accurate way of calculating the returns of an investment. It is the rate that the investment will have to grow at to consistently get the same returns that it did.

This is done by adding 1 to each year’s results and multiplying them with one another. You then work out this figure to the 5th power (as it is based on performance over 5 years) or the nth power where n is the number of years of performance you have available. Then, you minus off the 1 and you have the compound annual growth rate. See? Not that exciting – go grab yourself a cuppa.

Baillie Gifford American (Class B)

Fund objective:
This fund aims to outperform the S&P500 index by at least 1.5% per annum over rolling five year periods. It invests at least 90% in shares of US companies.
6 out of 7
  • Tesla
  • Shopify
  • Trade Desk
  • Amazon
  • Wayfair
  • Zoom
  • Roku
  • Netflix
  • Alphabet
  • Chegg
Sector% held
Software & Computer Services26.31%
Automobiles & Parts9.14%
Medical Equipment & Services7.50%
Real Estate Investment & Services4.57%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology4.53%
Telecommunications Service Providers3.83%
Consumer Services2.84%
Industrial Support Services2.35%
Country% held
United States90.59%
Cash and Equivalent1.97%

Artemis US Smaller Companies (Class I)

Fund objective:
This fund’s objective is simple: to grow capital over five years.
6 out of 7
  • Saia Inc
  • Lpl Financial Hldgs Inc
  • Pool Corp
  • Jacobs Engineering Group Inc
  • Itt Inc
  • Terminix Global Hldgs Inc
  • Booz Allen Hamilton Hldg Corp
  • Churchill Downs Inc
  • Elastic N V
  • Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc
Sector% held
Software & Computer Services9.42%
Consumer Services5.87%
Industrial Engineering5.69%
Leisure Goods5.66%
Investment Banking & Brokerage Services5.49%
Industrial Transportation5.20%
Travel & Leisure5.10%
Industrial Support Services4.70%
Cash and Equiv.4.54%
Country% held
United States80.88%
Cash and Equiv.4.54%
Direct Property and REITs2.16%
United Kingdom1.31%
Puerto Rico1.23%

JPM Emerging Markets (Class B)

Fund objective:
This fund aims to provide long term capital growth by investing in equity of emerging markets companies.
6 out of 7
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
  • Samsung Electronics Co
  • Tencent Hldgs Ltd
  • Alibaba Group Hldg Ltd
  • Aia Group Ltd
  • Sea Ltd
  • Meituan
  • Mercadolibre Inc
  • Housing Development Finance Corp
  • Hdfc Bank Ltd
Sector% held
Software & Computer Services14.80%
Technology Hardware & Equipment13.41%
Life Insurance5.85%
Consumer Services5.29%
Personal Care, Drug & Grocery Stores4.26%
Investment Banking & Brokerage Services3.21%
Leisure Goods2.91%
Country% held
United States20.13%
Hong Kong16.23%
South Korea5.49%
South Africa1.86%

ASI Global Smaller Companies

Fund objective:
This fund aims to generate growth over the longer term by investing in global small capitalisation equities. The target is to achieve the return of the MSCI AC Country World Small Cap Index plus 3% per annum.
6 out of 7
  • Kornit Digital Ltd
  • Generac Hldgs
  • Insulet Corp
  • Nihon M&a Center Inc
  • Axon Enterprise Inc
  • Chegg Inc
  • Pool Corp
  • Paylocity Hldg Corp
  • Amedisys Inc
  • Siteone Landscape Supply
Sector% held
Industrial Support Services13.24%
Industrial Engineering12.88%
Software & Computer Services10.84%
Leisure Goods9.39%
Technology Hardware & Equipment7.54%
Consumer Services5.97%
Medical Equipment & Services5.10%
Investment Banking & Brokerage Services4.77%
Health Care Providers4.32%
Country% held
United States42.76%
United Kingdom9.98%
Cash and Equiv.3.74%

Rathbone Global Opportunities (Class S)

Fund objective:
This fund aims to deliver a higher return than the Investment Association Global Sector over any five year period.
6 out of 7
  • Inc
  • Paypal Hldgs Inc
  • Sartorius Stedim Biotech
  • Nvidia Corp
  • Adobe Inc
  • Match Group Inc New
  • Freshpet Inc
  • Visa Inc
  • Mastercard Inc
  • Lonza Group Ag
Sector% held
Software & Computer Services19.86%
Industrial Support Services10.49%
Technology Hardware & Equipment7.22%
Food Producers6.04%
Medical Equipment & Services5.80%
Personal Goods5.66%
Consumer Services5.59%
Investment Banking & Brokerage Services4.02%
Cash and Equiv.3.83%
Country% held
United States61.97%
United Kingdom4.85%
Cash and Equiv.3.83%
Hong Kong1.67%

Schroder Asian Alpha Plus (Class L)

Fund objective:
This fund aims to maximise capital growth by investing in companies in the Asia region.
6 out of 7
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
  • Tencent Hldgs Ltd
  • Alibaba Group Hldg Ltd
  • Samsung Electronics Co
  • Aia Group Ltd
  • Hdfc Bank Ltd
  • Galaxy Entertainment Group
  • Samsung Sdi
  • Reliance Industries
  • Samsung Electronics Co
Sector% held
Technology Hardware & Equipment27.02%
Software & Computer Services10.61%
Life Insurance6.55%
Travel & Leisure4.21%
Personal Goods3.75%
Real Estate Investment & Services3.59%
Equity Investment Instruments3.52%
Cash and Equiv.3.20%
Country% held
Hong Kong23.83%
South Korea14.67%
United Kingdom4.26%
Cash and Equiv.3.20%
United States2.87%

FSSA Greater China Growth (Class B)

Fund objective:
This fund aims to achieve long term capital growth by investing in equity issued by companies that are established in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
6 out of 7
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
  • Tencent Hldgs Ltd
  • China Merchants Bank Co Ltd
  • Aia Group Ltd
  • Midea Group Co Ltd
  • China Mengniu Dairy Co
  • Alibaba Group Hldg Ltd
  • Advantech Co
  • Enn Energy Hldgs Ltd
  • Inc
Sector% held
Technology Hardware & Equipment25.69%
Household Goods & Home Construction9.43%
Software & Computer Services7.76%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology5.77%
Food Producers5.40%
Life Insurance4.98%
General Industrials3.54%
Gas, Water & Multi-utilities3.53%
Country% held
Hong Kong32.82%
United States4.65%
Cash and Equiv.1.07%

Legal & General US Index (Class C)

Fund objective:
This fund aims to provide growth by tracking the performance of the FTSE USA Index. It invests mainly in company shares and will closely match the companies that make up the Index.
6 out of 7
  • Apple Inc
  • Microsoft Corp
  • Inc
  • Facebook Inc
  • Alphabet Inc
  • Alphabet Inc
  • Tesla Inc
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Jpmorgan Chase & Co
  • Visa Inc
Sector% held
Software & Computer Services16.06%
Technology Hardware & Equipment11.53%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology6.42%
Industrial Support Services5.45%
Medical Equipment & Services4.00%
Investment Banking & Brokerage Services3.42%
Non-life Insurance2.89%
Telecommunications Service Providers2.83%
Country% held
United States93.67%
Cash and Equiv.1.76%
Direct Property and REITs1.15%
United Kingdom0.19%

Baillie Gifford Managed (Class B)

Fund objective:
This fund aims to achieve capital growth over rolling five year periods. It invests in a combination of shares, bonds and cash.
5 out of 7
  • Tesla Inc
  • Inc
  • Shopify Inc
  • Trade Desk Inc(the)
  • Imcd Nv
  • Wayfair Inc
  • Zalando Se
  • Spain 1.4% 30/04/2028
  • Prosus N.v.
  • US Treasury 2% 15/08/2025
Sector% held
Software & Computer Services11.90%
Cash and Equiv.8.56%
Investment Banking & Brokerage Services3.91%
Medical Equipment & Services3.37%
Alternative Trading Strategies2.96%
Technology Hardware & Equipment2.94%
Industrial Support Services2.79%
Country% held
United States25.74%
United Kingdom18.75%
Cash and Equiv.8.56%

FSSA Asia Focus

Fund objective:
This fund invests at least 80% in shares of large and mid-sized companies with a total stock market value of at least US $1 million that are operating in the Asia Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand (except Japan).
5 out of 7
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
  • Tencent Hldgs Ltd
  • Samsung Electronics Co
  • Hdfc Bank Ltd
  • Csl Ltd
  • Midea Group Co Ltd
  • Resmed Inc
  • Tata Consultancy Services
  • Naver Corp
  • Housing Development Finance Corp
Sector% held
Technology Hardware & Equipment14.47%
Software & Computer Services10.99%
Personal Care, Drug & Grocery Stores8.17%
Food Producers6.50%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology4.85%
Household Goods & Home Construction4.67%
Electronic & Electrical Equipment4.37%
Medical Equipment & Services3.90%
General Industrials3.57%
Country% held
Hong Kong17.52%
South Korea10.60%
United States3.87%

Compare pension providers

Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Fee for a £50,000 pension pot Brand description
Interactive Investor Pension
Any lump sum or £25 a month
Over 3,000 funds
Annual fee: £239.88, fund fees: £50-500
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm Pension
£1,500 (initial investment)
7 funds
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
Over 2,000 funds
Annual fee: £125, includes fund fees
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
9 funds
Annual fee: £250-475, includes fund fees
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100 or £25 a month
2,500 funds
Annual fee: £225 (£200 cap if holding shares), fund fees included
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
No minimum
4 portfolios
Annual fee: £375-455, fund fees included
Moneybox Pension
3 funds
Annual fee: £225, fund fee: £60
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
UK: £2.95
US: $3.95
EU: €3.95
Your first 100 trades are free with Fineco (T&Cs apply)
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. The minimum deposit with Fineco is £0. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply. The minimum deposit with eToro is $200.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. The minimum deposit with HL is £1. Capital at risk.
Degiro Share Dealing
UK: £1.75 + 0.014% (max £5)
US: €0.50 + $0.004 per share
Degiro is widely seen as one of the best low-cost share brokers, for people who are looking to trade regularly. The minimum deposit with Degiro is £0. Capital at risk.
interactive investor Trading Account
£7.99 (with one free trade per month)
£9.99 per month
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. The minimum deposit with ii is £0. Capital at risk.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Moneybox stocks and shares ISA
0.45% and £1 monthly subscription fee (free for first 3 months)
Moneybox offers a smart and simple way to invest. Sign up in minutes and start investing with £1 via their award-winning app. Capital at risk.
interactive investor stocks and shares ISA
Any lump sum or £25 a month
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
InvestEngine stocks and shares ISA
Offer - £50 welcome bonus for new customers. Subject to minimum investment. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm stocks and shares ISA
Moneyfarm helps you meet your investment goals with fully-managed portfolios designed around you. Capital at risk.
Fidelity Stocks and Shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £20 a month
Legal & General is a big financial services company which offers insurance, lifetime mortgage, pensions and stocks and shares ISAs. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Stocks and Shares ISA
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.

Compare up to 4 providers

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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